The Truth about Love

There are three common types of love. Each one is distinctly different, but we can feel all of them at one time – for one person or many people. EROS is passionate physical love. It includes sensual desires and longing.

Relationships built only on Eros usually end when sexual passion wanes. That is why people have affairs or casual physical relationships. Therefore, marriage needs more than Eros to survive.

PHILIA means friendship and connotes affectionate love between friends and family. It displays dispassionate camaraderie. Philia includes loyalty to friends, family and community. It exhibits Godly virtue, impartiality and delight.

Philia denotes a friendly type of affection between family and friends. It is a desire for companionship and enjoying activities with each other. Having a friendship with the people in your life and enjoying time to play, pray and share in common pursuits is vital in any relationship.

AGAPE means unconditional love. It refers to a deep sense of God’s pure, holy love. Instead of the sexual attraction of Eros or the deep affection of Philia, Agape is sacrificial.

Agape provides us with the feeling of contentment and satisfaction as we put each other first and highly esteem one another as better than our self (Philippians 2:3-4). True love takes effort and is not dependent on the other person.

Christ lives in us and is love personified. Regardless of how someone treats us, we love them with God’s love within us. It is not how we feel, but what we do to express God’s love to one another.

This does not mean that we do not honestly communicate to others how their behavior makes us feel; but we never give up on the relationship. We may have to establish boundaries, but we keep the relationship active.

Love is not what we expect from others, but what we provide for those in our life whom we care about. We are called to love one another, just as Christ loves us. Sometimes, that is a tall order to fill.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to display love to our parents, spouse, children, church family and even strangers regardless of how they treat us. This is only possible as we submit to Your will for our life and allow Your Spirit to reprogram our thinking to have the mind of Christ. Remind us that once we have this spiritual love, then the physical and the emotional feelings will follow after it.

Cause us to submit our self to You and to resist the devil. Then he must flee from us (James 4:7). His destructive suggestions that putting our self first, estrangement and divorce are not wrong, and that You want us to be happy, will vanish with his departure. Remind us that You want us to be holy. Help us to develop Agape love for others as we focus on submitting our self to You.

Thought for the Day:
Most people realize that we are far from loving one another with true self-sacrificing, lasting and sincere love; Eros and Philia come and go throughout the years, and they are never intense for long periods of time, but Agape lasts forever.

Healing Relationships – Part 1

There are four types of human relationships. We all fit into one of them, or a combination of several:
Independent – self-sufficient
Codependent – live for others
Dependent – despise living alone, have no personal identity                                 Interdependent – mutual, reciprocal relationships

These relational types describe how we relate to other people. If we are already functioning in interdependent relationships, we are healthy and have healthy interactions.

Otherwise, we are in needy, dysfunctional relationships, which are unhealthy for us and the other people in our life. Changing our beliefs about life and our self, and altering our attitude will bring needed healing to our soul.

In dysfunctional associations, we expect the magic of a fairytale existence; we pride our self in living as the martyr or savior; we give sacrificially and then feel anger and bitterness when we do not receive the love we believe we are owed in return.

In unhealthy relationships, our self-worth is based outside of our self, in people, places and things. We desire financial security, privacy, status in society, respect, degrees or popularity. We resent any change or adjustment required of us.

However, everything in life is fluid, temporary and undependable. We even disappoint our self. We cannot look to external values and relationships for our security.

When we concentrate on maintaining the status quo, we fail miserably every time we try. That is why the Serenity Prayer has grown in popularity.

Following its advice will ensure that we keep our focus on eternal matters, rather than on temporal issues, which cannot help but to disappoint us. We will also walk in God’s will each moment of every day.
Serenity Prayer:

“Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.
– by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

Thought for the Day:
Attempting to control our environment and relationships will guarantee that we suffer from stress-related issues, as well as to alienate those who mean the most to us.

Raised to Walk in a New Life

– Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12

Jesus poured out His life on this earth for all of mankind. During three years of ministry, He had no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). He was criticized for eating with publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:10). He experienced rejection, even from his own people (Matthew 13:57). Jesus ultimately laid down His life on Calvary’s cross for the salvation of anyone willing to accept His redemption (Rev 22:17; Acts 17:11).

Then on the third day, He raised up His own life again to exactly fulfill the Biblical prophecies about His life, death and resurrection (Isaiah 7:14, 53:12; Psalm 49:15, 24:7-10). Jesus then delivered those who died prior to His death and set them free (Ephesians 4:8-9). He became the first child of God to raise from the dead (Colossians 1:18). Then God lifted Him up to the greatest measure of His glory and authority (John 17:5).

God raises us to walk in a new life as well. Since Christ now lives within us by His Spirit, His power and authority are working in the life of every authentic Born Again Believer. As we walk in His Spirit, we fulfill the will of God. We mature in our walk of faith and we realize the awesome attributes of God in us. This humbles us and causes us to bow to Him in complete surrender.

God’s Spirit points out sin in our life, and then we cooperate and allow His Spirit to transform us both with the mind and character of Christ (2 Peter 1:4; Philippians 2:12-13). He frees us from sin and the corrupt desires of our flesh. He cleanses us from the root issue causing our penchant for sin. We die to our humanity and allow God to mature us in the Spirit, so we can live in the fullness of His resurrected life (Ephesians 3:19).

Prayer:
Father God, You never, ever leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8; Hebrews 13:5). We have faith in Your faithfulness. We rely on You and relinquish to You our worries, fears and insecurities (Matthew 6:25-34). Your love provides us with safety in the storms of life, as well as the provision we need in order to walk in our new life on this earth. Help us to glorify You on this earth just like Jesus did (John 17:4).

Thought for the Day:
Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith are not dependent upon our circumstances or our feelings or even our health, but only on the Holy Spirit within us in our new life.

Fervent, Effective Prayer

Prayer is an ethereal concept that is often hard to grasp. We are communing with a celestial being that we have never seen and there is no proof that He even exists. Yet, even scientific studies prove that prayer changes things. The key element about prayer is that God answers them. We can trust Him with our most intimate needs.

Through prayer, the Holy Spirit heals our body, soul and spirit, even if we do not know how to pray. He searches our heart and actually prays for us according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). He renews our mind from carnal to spiritual thoughts, and enables us to crucify our flesh and to live a spiritual life (Philippians 2:13; Galatians 5:16-25).
In prayer, God gives us His burdens and He places His cry in our heart (Psalm 145:19). God searches our innermost desires and finds the areas in our life where we need healing, enlightenment, guidance and love. He pours out His resources into our life and abundantly meets our every need according to His glorious heavenly riches (Philippians 4:19).

The Holy Spirit actually prays through us, if we will allow Him to do so (Romans 8:26; Ephesians 6:18). This does not mean to pray in tongues only, but also to pray in the Spirit in your native language. We do not know how to pray sometimes, but God gives us the burden on our heart, sometimes for people we do not even know. God responds to our prayers and often answers them while we are still praying (Isaiah 65:24).

Prayer:
Father God, we can make a real difference as we join together as the Body of Christ to pray for individual needs. Our united prayers are sweet incense to You as You hear them and respond to them with Your wisdom and strength (Revelation 8:4; Psalm 141:2). Thank You for caring about every area of our life and for working out everything, even the most horrendous circumstances, for our good (Hebrews 4:15; Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
If we give Him our time, and if we realize our need to live dependently upon Him and seek His wisdom in our prayers, then the Holy Spirit will pray through us and accomplish God’s will in the earth.

In Constant Union with Christ

Here is a fun exercise for you. Whenever you remove produce from your grocery bag or eat the fruit from a vine, remember that you too are a branch on the Vine, producing similar fruit for God’s Kingdom. Let it remind you that we are as dependent on the Vine as the vegetable or fruit was, which you are preparing to eat.

God grafts us into the Vine of Christ when we humble our self and admit that we need Jesus as our Savior. We are reciprients of the work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. He is our Vine, and we are His branches. A vine takes the nutrients from the soil and sends them to the branches. Our Vine separates the nutrients from the compost of life and sends it directly to our spirit.

The branch does not walk off by itself, but is absolutely dependent on the Vine. All Born Again Believers have this same constant union with our Vine. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). The sap never, ever stops flowing into the branch. It provides everything we need for every moment of our life. This is the secret of our true success.

Branches participate in this process too. We have the leaves, which take time to bask in the Son and collect the nutrients from His presence. We reflect His beauty and holiness to the world around us. If the branch gets the idea it does not need the Vine, it will wither and die. The Holy Spirit uses the fruit of the Vine, which grows in our life, to benefit those who need the life of Christ within us.

Prayer:
Father God, You are our Vinedresser. You protect us from disease, insect invaders and scorching trials, which Satan sends into our life. You provide the suppliments we need to grow into vibrant branches on the Vine of Your Son. You make us fruitful (Galatians 5:22-23) in order to bless those You bring our way. Send people to pick the fruit You produce in our life and remind us to generously share Your work in our life with them.

Thought for the Day:
We abide in the Vine in total dependence. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. – John 15:5